George R.R. Martin Believes He Has ‘More Influence’ on ‘House of the Dragon’ Than He Did on ‘Game of Thrones’

George R. R. Martin is one of the producers of the new Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon. And this time, he’s wielding his influence. The series is based on Martin’s Westeros history book Fire & Blood — a completed work about the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons

Even though Martin was involved in Game of Thrones — the most successful series in the history of HBO — the author didn’t have much say when it came to writing and production. Especially in the later seasons. But that has all changed with House of the Dragon. Martin says he definitely has “more influence” on the prequel.

George R. R. Martin — creator of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon’ attends the GoT Season 8 NY Premiere on April 3, 2019 in New York City
George R.R. Martin | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

George R. R. Martin wanted ‘Game of Thrones’ to last at least 10 seasons

More than three years after the divisive Game of Thrones finale, many fans still haven’t gotten over the ending of the beloved series. By the time executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss progressed the story to the 8th and final season, they had run out of source material from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. 

Martin was (and still is) working on the sixth book Winds of Winter, and he told Benioff and Weiss the outline of where the story was going. But then, the producers ended up putting their own mark on the story and taking it in an unintended direction. What’s more, they rushed the end of the series instead of taking their time with more episodes or more seasons.

“I was saying it needs to be 10 seasons at least and maybe 12, 13. I lost that one,” Martin told The Wall Street Journal

George R. R. Martin has ‘more influence’ on ‘House of the Dragon’

By the time Game of Thrones made it to the later seasons, Martin says he hardly had any influence at all. But he believes that isn’t going to happen with House of the Dragon.

“I had no contribution to the later seasons except, you know, inventing the world, the story and all the characters,” he said. “I believe I have more influence now [on House of the Dragon] than I did on the original show.”

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The process for developing a Game of Thrones spinoff was a much different experience compared to the main series. Martin says that five different teams were developing separate concepts, and they each visited him at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to make their pitch.

“It was like we were in the NFL playoffs and I’m coaching all the teams,” he said. “Emotionally, that was a little odd.”

Before HBO settled on House of the Dragon, another concept was greenlit for a pilot. The project never got a name, and was quickly axed. But, that pilot cost nearly $30 million to shoot, was set approximately 1,000 years before the original series, and it starred Naomie Watts. 

According to Martin, that prequel was set in “an ancient era only briefly described” in his books. And, he says he had serious reservations about it before it was shot.

After that project was shelved, HBO moved on to House of the Dragon. And it was Martin who handpicked the series’ writer — Ryan Condal. That’s when everything “clicked into place.”

If House of the Dragon is successful, fans can expect to see even more Thrones-related content in the future. But exactly how many series there will be remains to be seen. Still, Martin has high hopes for the universe HBO is creating with his source material.

“How many shows will make it to air? I don’t know, but I hope the answer will be several,” Martin said. “And we’ll have something akin to the Marvel or Star Wars model by the time it’s all settled.”

House of the Dragon airs Sundays on HBO.

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